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If you hang around the hot rod hobby long enough, you’re bound to collect a lot of parts along the way. Then, one day, you start looking at what you’ve accumulated and discover you have enough there to build a car. Some folks can just buy a finished car, but the ones who build one up from what they have lying around doubtless get considerably more satisfaction out of it by being an integral part of the creative and build processes. So what would the car you might build look like if your day job included managing a stamping and fabrication company that employed hundreds of skilled metalworkers running up to 1,500-ton presses and popping out body parts for regular customers such as Ford, Chevrolet, and Chrysler? The list of qualified people who do that for a living would be on the small side, but it would most certainly include the vendor of this special car.
That opens up a whole new arena as to what can be made (the sky is the limit, really) and, more importantly, what can be made in limited-run quantities. When Jon Hall-the founder of Shadow Rods, the manufacturer of newly stamped-steel XL27 roadster bodies-needed a company to punch out the necessary panels and pieces to create his roadster, he turned to the vendor’s company. A deal was struck and the process got off to a healthy start. The next question was how to power the beast. While at SEMA one year, the vendor was talking with Ralph Gilles, a vice president of design at Chrysler, about Chrysler’s new crate 392 Hemi. Mulling over how it was going to be marketed, looking for something other than plopping one into a run-of-the-mill vintage muscle car, he suggested they use one of Shadow Rods’ roadster bodies, except style it like a ’20s-era Chrysler project. The idea sounded like a hit, so Mark Allen, a chief designer with Dodge Truck, was brought on board to do some of the design work. One of the Shadow Rods bodies was pulled from the production and tacked together to see if what they thought would work really could. Satisfied with the basic premise, Shadow Rods was contracted to finish the rough build on the body and figure out the chassis.
Suffice to say the project was a success, and the result is this stunning creation known as the SR 392 Roadster. Just last fall, it occupied some prime Las Vegas real estate at Mopar’s SEMA booth to exhibit the new 392ci crate Hemi engine. In this car’s case, the fabulous engine is backed up by a Bowler Performance Chrysler 727 automatic transmission. Beneath the ethereal body, the car sits on a hand-built 118" wheelbase truss-style frame with a straight axle up front and 3.55:1 John’s 9" rear on a triangulated 4-bar rear with coil-over shock absorbers. All exterior features are either chrome-plated or polished aluminum or the finest stainless-steel, while most interior trim elements are polished aluminum. Sitting on one-off Budnik 19" front and 20" rear wheels, it casts a stance that no other custom rod can match; furthermore, its manufacturer-connection and SEMA provenance make it a truly one-of-a-kind piece.
Just recently, at the Good Guys Nationals in Columbus Ohio, this car won the coveted "Boyd Coddington Pro’s Pick" Award. This event had over 6,000 vehicles and there were only 30 Pro’s Pick Awards (one of the top awards of the event). Due to the untimely death of Boyd Coddington this past March, Jo Coddington (his wife) and a few people from the Hot Rod shop made the selections. Jo Coddington picked this car herself.